B25J/H aka PBH-1H carrier takeoff landing photos

Discussion in 'Aircraft Picture Requests' started by ScaleAero, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. ScaleAero

    ScaleAero New Member

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    First thank you for your response in advance.

    I am looking for photos and color plate images of the only B-25 which was
    altered for cat launching and wire trapping onboard a carrier. This is PBH-1H
    43-4700 BuNo 35277) that was modified for aircraft carrier catapult launch
    and arrests. First landings and catapult takeoffs took place aboard the USS
    Shangri La ( CV-38 ) on November 15, 1944.
     
  2. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Here is what I found so far, Hope it helps
     

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  3. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Wow. Amazing.
     
  4. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Hmmmm.... wonder if they beefed up the landing gear too ? Landing a
    plane (any type) on a carrier really beats up the landing gear. It seems
    the pilots get the plane to a spot, then just drop it.

    Charles
     
  5. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    I found this:

    PBH-1H 43-4700 (BuNo 35277) was modified for aircraft carrier catapult launch and arrest retrievals. The first landings and catapult takeoffs took place aboard the USS Shangri La "CV-38" on November 15, 1944. Although the experiment was successful, no further work on a carrier-based Mitchell took place since American advances in the Pacific made such an aircraft unnecessary.

    Source:

    PBJ-1 for US Navy

    Charles
     
  6. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    USS Shangri-La on November 15, 1944

    PBJ-1, BuNo 35277 (x USAAF B-25H 43-4700) piloted by Lieut. Comdr. Syd Bottomley traps aboard in picture 1, taxis out of the arrestor gear in picture 2 and is readied for catapult launch in picture 3.

    Lieutenant Commander Syd Bottomley, who had earlier served as XO of VB-3 at the Battle of Midway and then succeeded Max Leslie as squadron CO when Leslie fleeted up to CAG-3, was assigned to the Ship Experimental Unit of the Naval Aircraft Factory at Mustin Field, Philadelphia in the fall of 1943. The SEU was responsible for the evaluation and testing of catapult and arresting gear engines and associated handling equipment designed for shipboard and small field use. Bottomley was charged with the operation and maintenance of the test aircraft assigned to projects by the Bureau of Aeronautics and preparation of test aircraft reports, including evaluating carrier suitability portions of the Board of Inspection and Survey trials of new prototype aircraft. Assisting him were Lieutenants Bob Elder and Charlie Lane who had served with him in VB-3 and whom Bottomley dragooned away from the training command.

    Among the projects under Bottomley’s charge at SEU were the modifications of the P-38, P-39 and P-40 with catapult hooks by NAF for launching from jeep carrier transports. After modifications were completed it was Bottomley and company’s place to make catapult shots to determine feasibility, trim tab and flap settings and check flight characteristics. Soon they were also given a modified P-47, P-51, and even a P-61 for catapult feasibility testing. The Bureau of Aeronautics already knew that B-25’s could be launched from carriers, but wanted to know if they could be launched with catapults and so provided SEU with a Marine Corps PBJ-1H (BuNo 35277) which the Corps had acquired from the USAAF. The PBJ-1H was the same as the cannon armed B-25H, and, indeed, this particular airplane had started its life as USAAF 43-4700.

    Much of their activities involved testing the tricycle landing geared Grumman F7F Tigercat. No tricycle gear aircraft had ever been in carrier service and there was great concern over possible fuselage and nose damage resulting from the stress of off-center landings with a fixed, non-swiveling tailhook. Charlie Lane was project pilot and lost no time in demonstrating what an uneven cable friction load could do to the skin and frame of a nose-wheeled airplane. It was apparent that the arrestor hook needed to be relocated further forward and have swivel capability if the F7F was to ever carrier qualify. To further prove their points of hook location and swivel, Bottomley sought and received permission for BuAer to include their PBJ-1H in catapult and shipboard handling tests. An SBD tail hook assembly(the SBD was considered to have the most reliable tailhook arrangement) was installed on the PBJ and it was readied for further testing. In land based tests conducted at USCGAS Cape May an unexpected problem appeared: with full-flight engagement of the arresting gear, the single pilot's seat lock would disengage and let the pilot and seat slide forward onto the yoke. This was a big surprise the first time it happened and certainly not a happy event for Bottomley. As a solution, a steel strap was welded to the top of the seat from the bulkhead behind the pilot to keep the seat in place.

    On November 15, 1944, three aircraft were successfully tested for arrested landings and catapult launches aboard USS Shangri-La. Charlie Lane successfully demonstrated the results of relocating the swivel arrestor hook on the F7F. Bob Elder put an arrestor hook equipped P-51 through its paces.

    And then it was Bottomley’s turn in the PBJ. Bottomley told the story:

    “ . . . it was amazing how easily the PB| swung into the groove and picked up a wire. The ensuing catapult shot was a breeze, as was the next landing. Then the PBJ was struck below for handling tests on the hangar deck. The main wheels had been designed to turn sideways to ease the plane into tight spots, so BuAer and AirLant staff observers were all over, in and under the PBJ.

    “Everything had gone so well it was determined no further shipboard tests were necessary and I taxied into position on the catapult. I had planned to take just the plane captain, Koffel, and Chief Photo Mate Hicks back to Philadelphia direct from the ship. However, Lieutenant Jim Daniels, the SEU catapult officer, talked me into letting him ride over the bottom hatch below the cockpit with Koffel. Chief Hicks sat in the cannoneer seat to my right.

    “When the catapult fired, the yoke flew out of my hands as the pilot's seat slid back into the bulkhead, doubling up the steel jury straps that were only designed to keep the seat from moving forward. Some observer on the ship had apparently tried to adjust the pilot seat position and the latch had never re-positioned in its track slot. There we were, airborne off the bow with no one near the controls. But thank God for Jim Daniels! Jim had played tackle for the Georgia Tech Rose Bowl team immortalized by "Wrong Way" Right. With one shove of his mighty arm that seat went back along the tracks into position where I could grab the yoke and reach the wheels-up lever. We then departed for NAS Norfolk, landing an hour later none the worse for our experience.”

    Syd Bottomley left SEU in June 1945 and continued his naval career, attaining the rank of Captain. In the course of his wartime service he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Gold Star, six Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation. His campaign awards include: American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; American Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.

    The next phot shows Bob Elder waiting for launch signal P-51D BuNo 57987 (x USAAF 44-14017) and the one after that making a deck launch.

    The last photo is Charlie Lane’s F7F (BuNo 80291) aboard USS Shangri-La, 15 Nov 44.

    Official USN photos. Most of the information is from an old "The Hook", Winter 1978 and a long ago conversation with Bob Elder. And yes, for all you old timers on the Board, this is a repost from my 6 Feb 2005 post in the "Best Pacific Fighter?" poll.

    Rich
     

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  7. thirtybg

    thirtybg Member

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  8. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I posted this a long time ago but it is relevant to this thread...

    C-130 lands on a carrier:

    .
     

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  9. R Litzinger

    R Litzinger New Member

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    #9 R Litzinger, Mar 4, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
    My Grandfather was on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Shangri-La in 1944 on the day they tested the three planes mentioned above. He has good photos of all three. He has a really good sharp one of the B-25 (a PBH-1H? or PBJ-1H?) actually landing for the first time. I will make a good scan of it and post it on here for all to see.

    Thanks,

    Randy
     
  10. R Litzinger

    R Litzinger New Member

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    #10 R Litzinger, Mar 6, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
    The first B-25 Mitchell to ever land on an aircraft carrier, a PBJ-1H lands on the U.S.S. Shangri-La (CV-38) on Nov. 15, 1944.
    -- Photo by Wade Litzinger (copyright Randy Litzinger)

    First_B25_landing_on_carrier_ever_Nov17_1944_web600px.jpg
     
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